When it comes to the NHL, one of the most important positions in the game is the goaltender. Without a successful goalie, it does not matter how good your offense is or how shut down your defense is, because there is no support where it matters most — in the crease.
Each year the top goalie in the league as determined by a vote of each team’s general manager is awarded the Vezina Trophy, denoting him as the best goaltender that season.
Each year many people speculate at different points as to who will take the trophy at the end of the season, but a lot of the reasoning behind the vote lies within whether or not the goaltender’s team makes the playoffs.
At this point in the NHL season, if you were to ask an analyst who should win the Vezina Trophy, many would respond with players like Tuukka Rask, Marc-Andre Fluery, Jonathan Bernier and Ben Bishop; however, does New York Rangers’ star goalie Henrik Lundqvist have any chance of winning the it?
Many analysts would laugh at such a question, citing Lundqvist’s career worst start to the season as the obvious reason why, but what about Lundqvist’s recent success?
Going into the Olympic break, Lundqvist had won eight of his last 10 starts, including winning five straight starts up to that point in time. While Lundqvist only has 22 wins in 44 starts this season — good for only 10th best in the league — and only has a .918 save percentage and a 2.44 GAA (goals against average) — good for 13th and 16th respectively — he can still be considered one of the elite goalies this year due to his recent play.
Lundqvist started the season only winning nine out of his first 25 starts. So although he had an atrocious start to his season, he has won 13 out of his last 19 starts, including 10 of his last 12.
While it can be argued that Lundqvist does not deserve the Vezina because of his extremely slow start to the season, no one can deny that his current play is not deserving of Vezina recognition.
While it can be agreed that Lundqvist most likely will not win the Vezina because of the beginning of his season, if he had been playing as well as he has lately all season then Lundqvist would undoubtedly be the favorite for the award at this point.